JASON RAY v. MADISON COUNTY, TENNESSEE - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Aug 16, 2017

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

James Bryan Moseley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and LeAnne Thorne, Lexington, Tennessee, for the petitioner, Jason Ray.

Attorneys 2:

Nathan D. Tilly, and James I. Pentecost, Jackson, Tennessee, for the respondent, Madison County, Tennessee.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andre´e S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; Charlotte Davis, Assistant Attorney General, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Attorney General and Reporter.

Jerry N. Estes, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference.

Joe Atnip and Patrick G. Frogge, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Public Defenders Conference.

Richard Lewis Tennent, Nashville, Tennessee, and Sara Compher Rice, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Brennan M. Wingerter, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Sheriffs' Association.

Judge(s): CLARK

We accepted certification of questions of law from the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, which require us to determine: (1) whether, for split confinement sentences, Tennessee law authorizes a sentencing court to fix a percentage of the sentence that a defendant must serve in actual confinement before becoming eligible to participate in a work program in the local jail or workhouse; and (2) whether Tennessee law imposes a duty on a sheriff to challenge an inmate’s improper or potentially improper sentence. We conclude (1) that for split confinement sentences Tennessee trial judges are authorized to fix a percentage the defendant must serve in actual confinement before becoming eligible to earn work credits; and (2) that sheriffs in Tennessee have no duty to challenge an inmate’s sentence as improper or potentially improper.

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